back to article Science: Broke brats glued to the web while silk-stocking scions have better things to do

A new survey of teenagers reveals that children from poorer households use the internet more than those from richer homes, upending a common assumption about our online lives. In addition, richer kids use the internet in a more productive way, spending significantly more of their time looking up educational material and things …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "They are more trusting but also more willing to take risks."

    Are they taking calculated risks - or is it a symptom of naivety? In our risk averse culture the kids are often not being allowed to gain the experience of how to handle risks.

  2. Youngone Silver badge

    "They are more trusting but also more willing to take risks."

    That would have described me when I was a young man, and nobody has described me as young for 25 years or so.

  3. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Not a good portent.

    >>>whether children had heard of "fake news". In richer households, 81 per cent said yes; in poorer households, just 64 per cent. <<<

    The future for demagogues is bright.

    The N.S.S line was that richer kids spend more time offline, doing other things that cost money perhaps?

  4. My-Handle

    Re: Not a good portent.

    I was thinking the same. My favoured hobbies usually involve making things and I have a large number of projects queued up for the workshop. Unfortunately, I regularly hit months where I just don't have enough cash to buy tools or materials and progress on my projects grinds to a halt. Thus, my spare time tends to get diverted to YouTube or video games. Money definitely helps people get out and about and spend their time productively.

  5. LDS Silver badge

    "doing other things that cost money perhaps?"

    Evidently. Part probably imposed by their parents, part on their own. When you also have better places to "play" and better "toys", you have far more options. Not surprisingly they look for "how-tos", which mean they have other things to work with. Also, parents (and relatives) with more hobbies and interests will transfer some of them to their children. Greater chances to join groups or clubs also.

    In the past poorer children had a bigger probability of being left in front of a TV as an electronic baby-sitter for lack of other means, now an Internet device took that place - nothing new.

  6. anonanonanon

    Re: Not a good portent.

    But do they mean real fake news or Trumpian Fake news?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "doing other things that cost money perhaps?"

    "In the past poorer children had a bigger probability of being left in front of a TV as an electronic baby-sitter for lack of other means, [...]"

    Was that only the poor? My experience is that since the advent of TV kids soon learn what they like to sit and watch. Parents soon have a struggle to moderate such obsessions***. What did they do before that era? Listening to the radio wasn't quite the same for kids. I always had my nose in a book - or reading the back of any food packet on the table.

    In the days when South Africa didn't have television - a colleague's young children experienced it on a 3 month holiday in Europe. He said he was surprised how their education was suddenly improved by their watching kids TV programmes.

    ***My neighbour's 4 year old has had an obsession with some of my animated Halloween decorations for a couple of years. He sets them running - then steps back with a look of terror that quickly morphs into a wicked smile. He will repeat the performance as many times as your patience will allow. The decorations have to stay in place for several weeks. He also loves ringing doorbells - although he has learned to be selective. Hopefully a budding inquisitive engineer. Just hope I live long enough to introduce him to Arduinos. At the moment he would just take everything apart with no rationale. It's interesting watching him quickly work out how to manipulate something.

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Buzzwords...

    So what's the next generation going to be called after Generation Z? This "Generation <letter>" thing started seemingly with Generation X. I'm aware of "The Greatest Generation" (WWII types), "The Lost Generation" and some others but this alphabet thing just seems puzzling.

  9. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Re: Buzzwords...

    So what's the next generation going to be called after Generation Z? This "Generation <letter>" thing started seemingly with Generation X. I'm aware of "The Greatest Generation" (WWII types), "The Lost Generation" and some others but this alphabet thing just seems puzzling.

    Maybe they'll get confused and start following Ubuntu released...

    Generation Ardent Aardvark and...etc....

  10. Fungus Bob Silver badge

    Re: Buzzwords...

    "So what's the next generation going to be called after Generation Z?"

    I suggest you read "On Beyond Zebra!" by Dr. Seuss...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Buzzwords...

    Generation Z is like Windows 10 - eternal, with quality improvements and new features continuously implemented, resulting in decreasing quality and increasing frustration.

  12. tfewster Silver badge

    Re: Buzzwords...

    Continuing the ASCII table: [\]^_a-z{|}~ and finally DEL?

  13. A-nonCoward

    Re: Buzzwords...

    No need.

    After Generation Z, it's over.

  14. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Re: Buzzwords...

    No need.

    After Generation Z, it's over.

    Don't get my hopes up, that last Mayan Calendar thing was a huge disappointment.

  15. A-nonCoward

    Re: Buzzwords...

    ... "was a huge disappointment."

    evidence: every new generation of kids, for a very long time, has placed their energy into supporting some kind of music that drew their parents, and the previous generation, totally insane with pain. Charleston, Swing, Rock, Pop (I'm jumping a few, but you get my point). What have we got, for already way too long? Rap. Techno is not it, sorry. Rap. Nothing worse has replaced it.

    It's the end of times, I tell you.

    (doesn't mean we all die. Well, not physically, but what's coming for us is perhaps almost worse than death. I was walking the dog the other day past a retirement home, guess what music the staff were playing? I hear that rendition operatives use Country to break down prisoners. Hmmm, those old folks there? they wish they were in an interrogation hut, I bet.)

  16. VikiAi
    Headmaster

    Re: Buzzwords...

    Generation and, since '&' used to be the 27th letter of the alphabet (back when I was a wee lass!)

  17. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
    Angel

    Re: Buzzwords...

    Rap is just Country music without the country, or the music.

    Which is a huge improvement I do admit, all they need to do to finish the job is get rid of the vocals...

  18. onefang

    Re: Buzzwords...

    "Continuing the ASCII table: [\]^_a-z{|}~ and finally DEL?"

    Generation DEL will either delete the human race, or we start using Unicode. I'm happy I wont live long enough to see Generation Smiling Poo Emoji.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Buzzwords...

    > So what's the next generation going to be called after Generation Z?

    That would be Æ/Ä, Ø/Ö and then Å. The future is clear in any of the Germanic language countries.

  20. ratfox Silver badge
    Angel

    Re: Buzzwords...

    Generation poop emoji

  21. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Re: Buzzwords...

    I was walking the dog the other day past a retirement home, guess what music the staff were playing?

    So Country is worse than death? Is death, easily confused with death?

    As he got older, my Dad increasingly liked Country music (he did grow up liking Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, so maybe he wasn't far off in the first place).

    It's generally got an easy to sway-to for old bones beat - I really can't see retirement places in twenty years blaring out heavy metal for the residents to headbang to...

    Although the volume on Country does AC/DC so everyone can enjoy it might make you think it was.

  22. Pseudonymous Howard

    Re: Buzzwords...

    It is a pattern: Windows 10 is the last Windows, Generation Z the last generation. Decade-, version- or generation-counting is dying out since the begin of the current millenium. Just listen to a radio station targetting the mainstream: At least here Germany they all have slogans like: "The best music from the 80s, 90s and today!" This "today" already exists for 18 years...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Buzzwords...

    " I really can't see retirement places in twenty years blaring out heavy metal for the residents to headbang to..."

    A colleague and his pals started a teenage pop group in the 1970's. They still did local gigs in their 50s - and found that the audience were basically unchanged - just getting older. They did wonder when the Zimmer frames would appear.

    People may broaden their music genre repertoire as they get older - but their pop music tends to be of their younger era.

    Music is a strong part of our memories - and memories are our sense of ourselves as an identity. Apparently even with dementia - music can still be recalled with no problem. Oliver Sacks in his studies of brain injuries - wrote about the way music seems separate from speech.

  24. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Re: Buzzwords...

    The letter convention for naming generational cohorts was more or less accidental - it was a lazy popularization of Coupland's "Generation X" concept from the eponymous novel, and Coupland's own definition was narrower than what demographers typically use for generational cohorts in the industrialized West.

    Some demographers tried to resist it, in some cases successfully. Howe and Strauss coined the term "Millennials" for the generational cohort of around 1980-2000, and that term stuck. Unfortunately, H&S didn't have the same luck with their "Thirteeners" alternative to Gen X, despite the cult popularity of their 1993 book 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?, which I think is actually quite interesting. (I admit this is somewhat self-serving, since I fall into that cohort, a group that H&S have much sympathy for.)

    I'm hoping for a return to more-interesting coinages for future demographic cohorts. I can see why Coupland used "Generation X", but every generational-cohort letter-name since then has just been a sad failure of imagination on the part of the pundits who publicize these things.

  25. Tikimon Silver badge
    FAIL

    Re: Buzzwords...

    "Rap is just Country music without the country, or the music."

    WRONG. Country music does not glorify crime and "gangstas". It does not treat women like mindless objects for sex or label them "bitches" or "Ho's". Rap is a sometimes toxic collection of misogyny and criminal attitudes loaded with F-words.

    Country music is at worst kinda boring. It tends to be about the life situations the rest of us non-criminal types care about. Life and its windings, love gained or lost, bad jobs, dogs and automobiles. Your kids can listen to it with no worries about nasty language or misogyny. It's almost the diametric opposite in content and intent from Rap.

    I'm not even a fan of Country Music, but it doesn't deserve to be lumped in with Rap/HipHop.

  26. A. Coatsworth
    Mushroom

    Re: Buzzwords...@A-nonCoward

    >>What have we got, for already way too long? Rap. Techno is not it, sorry. Rap. Nothing worse has >>replaced it.

    You clearly haven't been in contact with the absolute hellspawn that is reggaeton. This abortion of music was let loose onto the world some time after year 2000, and have been riding strong ever since

  27. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Re: Buzzwords...

    > So what's the next generation going to be called after Generation Z?

    That would be Æ/Ä, Ø/Ö and then Å. The future is clear in any of the Germanic language countries.

    There's always Hiragana or Katakana.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Buzzwords...

    > > So what's the next generation going to be called after Generation Z?

    > That would be Æ/Ä, Ø/Ö and then Å. The future is clear in any of the Germanic language countries.

    Sounds more like Generation Old MacDonald

  29. ThatOne Bronze badge
    Coat

    D'uh

    So rich kids have a better grasp and control of their environment? Next thing you'll tell me the pope is catholic...

  30. Antonius_Prime

    Re: D'uh

    Well, the one before the current one was a Nazi...

    (In his Youth, misspent or otherwise. Obviously staying in cults stuck with him...)

    (Maaaaaaassssive sarcasm, as there are those who'll find something to get narky about...)

  31. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Re: D'uh

    I wouldn't be too hard on him for that. `

    I have some sympathy for people who have been born into generations where painful decisions are requiring to be made. Had you been a youth in Germany in the 1930s, would you have gone along with the flow (as he did) or would you have been massively courageous and stood up and out, knowing full well that it might have earned you a trip to Belsen?

    And as for cults, well, the top is the place to be.

  32. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    Re: D'uh

    When I made an exchange trip with a German boy, his mother told me a story. One day the teacher in her class said to her and another girl that they had not yet joined the Hitler Youth. They took the hint, that day.

    That is how things are done under such regimes. Lucky are the countries where people are unaware of such matters.

  33. Gustavo Fring

    time travel

    Anyone couldn't have had that knowledge as Belsen wasn't built till later. If more people had stood up, to what was a the time a facist regime, then maybe some of what happened would have been tempered. Too many stood silent ..............

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: time travel

    "Too many stood silent ..............

    In troubled times - a populist politician promised them political stability, prosperity, and to make Germany great again.

  35. Fungus Bob Silver badge

    Re: D'uh

    "Next thing you'll tell me the pope is catholic..."

    Actually he's a Wiccan.

  36. Mooseman Bronze badge

    Re: time travel

    That's easy for you to say. I used to know a guy who had done just that. He spent 2 years in a concentration camp - and yes they existed before Belsen - in the 1930s. Some of the stories he had would make your stomach churn, and this was before they started the industrial mass murder.

  37. TRT Silver badge

    One stereotype about Generation Z...

    is that they won't be defined by stereotypes.

  38. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Re: One stereotype about Generation Z...

    Just like every previous generation had plenty of individualistic rebellious teens.

  39. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
    Unhappy

    The Least Forgotten Generation Ever

    The one thing I reminded my daughter of at the weekend is that she's the first generation of kids where no stone is left unturned and nothing about them from cradle to grave, will ever be forgotten. One of her friend's brothers, just 15, came home absolutely paralytic after a Saturday with his friends. His reasonably well to do parents went absolutely ballistic at him and it was a bit of a to-do by all accounts. On the Sunday morning I said to my daughter that although his parents might try to keep a lid on it I guarantee that by midweek it'll be all round the school and all over the kids social media. Sure enough, my daughter came home Tuesday and said it was the main topic of conversation at school due to the posts his so-called friends put on social media about him.

    I did some stupid things as a kid but only about 3 or 4 people know about them, no pics, no videos, nothing recorded and more or less forgotten, in fact as I get older even I begin to forget some of the daft things I did as a kid. Our children don't have that luxury. We post pictures of them by the minute on social media just to fill Zuckerburg's coffers and seal our children's fate as the most watched and recorded generation in history to date.

    My wife will only allow our daughter to have snapchat and instagram, no other social media, and with her locked down iPhone she's not allowed to install any apps either. As parents we carry the can for anything she does online, when's old enough we won't be able to stop her but by then she'll be wise enough to see what has happened to others. Hopefully she'll understand why her generation must be so infinitely careful on the internet lest they wreck their future for good with one careless post.

    It's ironic that we fight against government spying to save ourselves yet we let our kids post all manner of things on social media just ripe and ready to be sold to the highest bidder and hoovered up by any government.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: came home absolutely paralytic

    And as the 'Internet' never forgets, this episode could haunt that person for the rest of their lives.

    They could be rewarded in the future by increased insurance premiums because of the 'possibility' of becoming an Alky, or denied jobs or financial services etc etc etc.

    Back in the day (Before the Internet and all that social-media shite) an episode like this would be laughed off and you'd be told not to do it again. All part of your life experiences in growing up and quickly forgotten.

    Now such episodes are broadcast to the world and will be there for posterity.

    I am so glad that I don't use any Social Media shite and that I'm well past the age where having a few drunk episodes somewhere on the internet is going to bother me.

    I'm sure that within a couple years we will see 10's of millions of people (sad sacks the lot of them) broadcasting their dull boring and pathetic lives 24/7 to the world just because they can.

    We are doomed I tell ye, doomed!

  41. DougS Silver badge

    Re: The Least Forgotten Generation Ever

    The fact "no one forgets" will excuse all these things because EVERYONE will have something like that in their past. Same way that the people you were at a wild party with back in college aren't going bring up stuff you did in a wider group because you can retort with stuff they did. Except now there is no "wider group", since in 2018 pics of what you both did in that wild party were shared on Snapchat before the party was even over. And likely you and your friend are the ones who shared them. But you aren't embarrassed or ashamed, because the people who saw those photos shared photos of their escapades the previous weekend, and so on.

    Its like celebrity nudes, it used to be a scandal if there were naked pics of an A list Hollywood actress - even if she posed for Playboy it was considered a bit tawdry. These days ones that don't have such pictures a two second google search away are less common than those who do, so no one even raises an eyebrow at this anymore.

  42. onefang

    Re: The Least Forgotten Generation Ever

    'The fact "no one forgets" will excuse all these things because EVERYONE will have something like that in their past.'

    Perhaps we will end up with a more tolerant world? Or employers will discriminate against you coz you didn't do something stupid in your youth, then uploaded it somewhere public, like everyone else did. Us oldies might have to track down old photos of past indiscretions, colourise them, photograph them with our smartphones, and stick them on Instagram with an unsuitable filter.

  43. rskurat

    Re: came home absolutely paralytic

    One of the several hats I wear is that of tutor to University & High School/6th Form students. About a third have admitted to having two accounts on social media platforms, an 'official' one and another for a dozen friends, at most. The Kids Are All Right.

  44. LDS Silver badge

    "Perhaps we will end up with a more tolerant world?"

    Not at all - you will be ranked by your "likes" or "followers"... and if you won't have something stupid to show, they'll think you're hiding it somehow... tolerance is not complicity - and well, there are things that is wrong to tolerate - even if a lot of people around you do them.

  45. Cubical Drone

    Re: The Least Forgotten Generation Ever

    I always try to tell people that the difference between a tattoo and something on the internet is that, although painful and expensive, a tattoo can be removed.

  46. strum Silver badge

    Re: The Least Forgotten Generation Ever

    >The fact "no one forgets" will excuse all these things because EVERYONE will have something like that in their past.

    I am embarrassed by the lack of anything particularly salacious from my youth.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: came home absolutely paralytic

    Can confirm

    "Kids today" are well aware that everything they do is public, and their parents add them to most social media. some of their tradecraft is quite impressive,

    The private whatsapp group for the lads is the premier choice round here.

    Its also why I don't believe the surveys about drinking less [Although less in pubs and clubs as no one can afford it ]

    Also they all go down to the park to drink cheap cider, huff Nitrous oxide and smoke weed

  48. DougS Silver badge

    Re: came home absolutely paralytic

    The "parents are on social media" is why most of the twenty somethings are on Snapchat. They treat Facebook as their 'public' social media so Snapchat is where the "good stuff" gets posted. When people on Snapchat have kids who are old enough, a new social media star will be born...

    It might already be happening, since Snapchat's popularity has sort of leveled off. I know a lot of 20 somethings, but few teens or preteens, so I'm not sure what the younger crowd is going to instead of Snapchat.

  49. Esme

    Yeah, right..

    "...a recent study looking at digital skills amongst all adults highlighted that 91 per cent of better-off adults claimed to have basic digital skills, compared with 62 per cent of poorer adults."

    Not sure I'd trust that datum. Funnily enough, when I was in IT support, the higher up the corporate ladder you were (and thus the better off financially) the more likely you were to oversell your abilities on PCs (with a few (dis)honourable exceptions, eg; a director who felt he was so important that actually learning how to use machines was beneath him, and was something only hoi poloi do). Hence inappropriate "solutions" being foisted on unfortunate minions by upper manglement that wouldn't believe their IT staff actually knew what they were talking about.

  50. Roj Blake Silver badge

    A Wise Man Once Said...

    "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

    - Socrates (possibly)

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